Questions remain

To the editor:

This is in response to Sharon Galner's editorial letter. Mrs. Galner, I do believe your spouse is Steve Galner, clerk of the board for the Golden Valley Fire Department. I don't understand why you would write such an editorial when you have the answers under your own roof.

If not, I do have some answers for you. You seem to imply that the board is not doing their job and keep rehashing Trish Ford's issue and other issues. You do have a good point with this implication. Although, now you can rest assured. Last night (Aug. 9) the board dismissed the investigation concerning the hostile workplace (allegations), as well as other important, valid issues.

This issue was tabled in May and not brought back to the agenda until last month when Trish Ford requested its resolution. It was again tabled, presumably because the chairman of the board was not present at the meeting, as stated in this month's agenda. This month, the chairman of the board was again absent. However, the acting chairman, Steve Galner, decided to move forward on the issues.

Seems odd, don't you think, that it was so important to note in the agenda that issues were tabled because of an absence, when it suddenly appears that absence was not all that important to proceed after all? It also seems odd to proceed without allowing input from the chairman of the board or Trish Ford, valuable input that could have aided the board in coming to a fair decision.

The fire board dismissed the issues without any real discussion as to why employees are quitting and to why hostile workplace is being sited by employees. Were these issues dismissed simply because they have lingered on so long, and the board and the public are tired of hearing about it?

Your letter seemed to hold a lot of weight. Seems like they are not interested in why long-time employees no longer work at the fire department or why it is so hard to attract experienced personnel and hold onto them.

Here are some facts: The division chief quit after 15 years of service, cutting short his own full vestment in his retirement. I was the office manager. I quit after 10 years of service. The administrative assistant quit after almost three years of service. Five firefighters and engineers with their paramedic or EMT credentials have also quit, all within the past two years!

Does this raise any questions in anyone's mind? The rumblings in the surrounding fire service community suggest that GVFD is a training ground of inexperienced personnel for other fire departments to scoop up. This is not due to lack of pay. These professionals all loved working for Golden Valley. The problems run deeper than that.

If the board is not interested in finding out why, then maybe the community that these fine men and women serve should be interested. The citizens of GV should take a closer look at what is going on right under their noses with their tax money that supports the Golden Valley Fire Department.

So, why not investigate? Why is this issue being swept under the rug like so many others in the past years? The board may find answers to make the best decision for the department, as well as for taxpayers. Maybe the community will get more involved.

I agreed with you, the ambulance company (River Medical) responds in a timely manner and does a fine job for this community. The fire personnel of Golden Valley Fire Department respond in an impressive time. I hold the captains, engineers and firefighters in highest regards. I was proud to serve with every one of them.

They are professionals who take their job of protecting the citizens of Golden Valley very seriously. There is no dispute they are great at their jobs.

Lovelle Barnett

Golden Valley